2 bonded males fighting & humping out of the blue

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chofamily

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I read in an older post that bunnies could pull hair out when they played.
Q: is pulling out clumps not unusual? Have they always played like this? I’m trying to research if this is normal behavior that we hadn’t seen until recently.

Yesterday, I came home & my son showed me a video of them fighting & why there was fur clumps everywhere in their enclosure. He said that Mochi the Holland lop was enthusiastically humping Popper the dwarf Hotot before the fight. It happened 2x. After a brief timeout, they were back to hanging out & flopping, grooming each other. Then it repeated -
we’re perplexed at their change in behavior.
we thought they were both chill enough & have plenty of enclosure room, plus their own cages, should they want ‘private time’.
We wanted to know why they were suddenly exhibiting this behavior.


background:
My 2 male bunnies, both over a year old, have both been neutered for over 8-10 months & best friends since they bonded 6-7 months ago. For example, If one of them is in timeout in their cage, or if I’m a bit slow in getting the 2nd one out in the morning, they’ll try to ‘break out their buddy’. (They know how to slide the cage doors open if the door isn’t ‘caught’ and locked.) they’re kept separate at night in their own XL sized cages (I refer to it as personal time.) so another example of their friendship is that sometimes, when my son forgets to put down the top of the dwarf’ Hotot’s cage & lock it, we’ll even find that he’s scaled the cage walls & gotten into his buddy’s cage at night. We’ll find them all cuddled up. On a typical day, they get fed greens in the morning while still in their own cages (Mochi is a moocher), then they get let out, and either go sleep in the cardboard hut, chillax in the tunnel or in the enclosure either on their own or together. Popper loves peeing on the mat in Mochi’s cage — always has. Other than that, they both freely use each other’s litter boxes and rarely poop out the cages.

So this new behavior of humping & then fighting,🤷🏼‍♀️. We’re looking for insight if this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Any insight?
 

chofamily

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I read in an older post that bunnies could pull hair out when they played.
Q: is pulling out clumps not unusual? Have they always played like this? I’m trying to research if this is normal behavior that we hadn’t seen until recently.

Yesterday, I came home & my son showed me a video of them fighting & why there was fur clumps everywhere in their enclosure. He said that Mochi the Holland lop was enthusiastically humping Popper the dwarf Hotot before the fight. It happened 2x. After a brief timeout, they were back to hanging out & flopping, grooming each other. Then it repeated -
we’re perplexed at their change in behavior.
we thought they were both chill enough & have plenty of enclosure room, plus their own cages, should they want ‘private time’.
We wanted to know why they were suddenly exhibiting this behavior.


background:
My 2 male bunnies, both over a year old, have both been neutered for over 8-10 months & best friends since they bonded 6-7 months ago. For example, If one of them is in timeout in their cage, or if I’m a bit slow in getting the 2nd one out in the morning, they’ll try to ‘break out their buddy’. (They know how to slide the cage doors open if the door isn’t ‘caught’ and locked.) they’re kept separate at night in their own XL sized cages (I refer to it as personal time.) so another example of their friendship is that sometimes, when my son forgets to put down the top of the dwarf’ Hotot’s cage & lock it, we’ll even find that he’s scaled the cage walls & gotten into his buddy’s cage at night. We’ll find them all cuddled up. On a typical day, they get fed greens in the morning while still in their own cages (Mochi is a moocher), then they get let out, and either go sleep in the cardboard hut, chillax in the tunnel or in the enclosure either on their own or together. Popper loves peeing on the mat in Mochi’s cage — always has. Other than that, they both freely use each other’s litter boxes and rarely poop out the cages.

So this new behavior of humping & then fighting,🤷🏼‍♀️. We’re looking for insight if this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Any insight?
 

Preitler

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Well, at this time of the year, even when neutered, insticts can kick in more or less.

I don't have experience with neutered males, but I do not seperate any of my pairs without a good reason - like one doe giving birth - to not trigger territorial or hierachy issues.

Pulling fur is not playing. In does, it's already a relativly high escalation step, intact bucks I would seperate immediatly and permanently since they tend to go berserk pretty quickly. Really can't say much about neutered males, but I guess that's one reason why they get neutered in the first place.

I might be wrong, but it sounds a little like dogs get treated, but rabbits, their social structure and interactions are very different.
 

JBun

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Rabbits, even neutered ones, can get something called 'spring fever', where there can be an up tick in hormonal type behaviors for a few weeks in spring. As long as it is only mild humping, minor fur pulling, minor chasing, and doesn't escalate and neither rabbit is distressed, then things will usually settle down in a few weeks and the rabbits will be fine, if this is the issue with your rabbits.


However, if it is escalating, real fighting is occurring, and/or either rabbit is showing signs of distress or agitation, they need to be separated for a few weeks before making an attempt at rebonding them. If the behaviors persist, there could be something more going on, possibly health related, or they have just fallen out and may not be able to be rebonded.

Is there a reason you separate them at night? With bonded rabbits, typically it's not a good idea to ever separate them once officially bonded. This separation of yours at night, could possibly be the root of the issues you are now seeing.



 

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